Friday, December 05, 2003

Trail Run First Snow

I was looking forward to my first trail run in the snow. Just two week ago I was running the marathon in shorts and singlet. The snow had just started at 5 AM when I walked Max. The intensity picked up as I drove out to work and there was a nice snow cover when I started out on the path.

Winter woods have a special beauty. The disappearance of vegetation opens vistas and gives new perspectives on the landscape. It is very quiet in woods and even my own footfalls are muffled.

I realize that I am not the only one making use of the trail; animal tracks show a busy community that crosses the path, and often goes straight along it for some distance. I don’t recognize all the tracks but deer is plain and rabbits are distinct. Also some type of predator, probably fox. One rabbit went along quite deliberately, then did a 360 marking out a clear oval before continue on. What made him circle?

For a time I am following a deer and the tracks are quite fresh, suddenly there she is taking us both by surprise. I follow her flight into the woods but she quickly disappears. I am always amazed by that ability to simply vanish. How does so large an animal hide in these seemingly empty woods?

I have never encounter anyone in this section of the woods, but tracks leading from the Arboretum let me know that someone else has early been for a hike. I make a great circle before I recross my own tracks on my way back. They are already disappearing under a cover a snow. Shortly there will be no evidence I had come this way.

There’s the momentary jar as I come out to the Rt 352 and the heavy morning traffic. I wish I could have stayed out longer in the white stillness of those woods. I may not feel so friendly toward the snow later today as I put up with traffic and shoveling but right now it just seems beautiful.